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Windows XP vs. Vista vs. Linux

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Mike Ricciuti of CNET says Windows XP is “doomed” and that “most of us will likely be using Vista sometime in the near future” (see Microsoft: All roads lead to Vista). In contrast, Ina Fried of CNET writes that Windows XP may get another reprieve, the title referring to the fact that major computer manufacturers are slated to stop selling Windows XP in June. Who’s right?

One reason Mike cites for the Vista assimilation is that “Dell launched a Vista migration program to nudge big companies toward the OS. The PC maker’s ‘client migration solution’ will cut migration costs…” I see this as evidence of Vista resistance. If there was value to Vista, the cost of migrating would not be an issue.

Mike also writes that “Microsoft is greasing the skids for Vista acceptance by offering free telephone support for Vista Service Pack 1 through March 2009″.*   Microsoft never did this with XP service packs, so why are they doing it for Vista? They are trying to get people to go where they don’t want to go.

Let’s not forget the price cuts to shrink-wrapped versions of Vista which were to take effect at the same time Service Pack 1 was released. As Don Reisinger wrote (see Vista price cuts show how much trouble Microsoft is in), those price cuts were really a publicity stunt.

I don’t think Don’s article went far enough though. To me, the price cuts were intended to break out of computer industry news vehicles (like CNET and ComputerWorld) and be reported to the general public. No techie is going to decide to go with Vista because its a few dollars cheaper today than yesterday. No, the audience for the price cut announcement was non-techies.

And the message wasn’t the price cuts (hardly anyone buys Vista in a box on the shelf of a retailer). The real message was that Service Pack 1 was about to be released, news that normally stays within the IT industry. The subliminal point being that while Vista may have been bad initially, now it’s OK. An unusually well done bit of PR.

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